Practice turtle ‘Safety 101’

The FWC recommends residents and visitors in Florida’s coastal communities follow these guidelines to help conserve sea turtles and their hatchlings:

1. Hands Off Hatchlings! Sea turtle hatchlings are digging out of their nests and clambering toward the ocean in September and October, the last months of Florida’s sea turtle nesting season. Just remember, “Hands off!” is the best policy for beachgoers encountering sea turtle hatchings. Even well-meaning attempts to rescue sea turtle hatchlings can do more harm than good. And digging into a sea turtle nest, entering a posted area or picking up a sea turtle hatchling to take a photo are against the law. Especially important during the nesting months of May – October, do not walk on the beach at night with a flashlight. Flashlights can disturb a sea turtle enough that they will abort their nesting attempt and leave the beach. they can also disorient emerging hatchlings


2. Turn Out the Lights, Save a Life. Turn off or adjust lighting along the beach in order to prevent nesting females or hatchlings from getting confused and going toward lights on land, instead of the salt water where they belong. Use turtle-friendly lighting outside homes and other buildings along the beach. Replace incandescent, fluorescent and high-intensity bulbs with FWC-certified low-wattage, long wavelength options available in red or amber colors. Turn out outdoor lights at night when not needed. With beach lighting, remember to:
Keep It Long – Long wavelength lights are better for turtles. Look for the red and amber lights that have been certified as turtle-friendly by the FWC.
Keep It Low – When illuminating walkways use low-wattage bulbs and install lights close to the ground.
Keep It Shielded – Focus lights down, not up or outward, to avoid confusing nesting turtles and hatchlings.
Shut Curtains and Blinds – Close curtains and draw blinds at night on beachfront windows and doors.

3. Clear the Way at the End of the Day. Nesting mothers and hatchling sea turtles can get trapped, confused or impeded by gear left on the beach at night. Remove items such as boats, beach chairs, umbrellas, buckets and tents at the end of the day, and fill in holes or level piles of sand before nightfall. Also, avoid burying umbrella poles in the sand; use pole-holders or sleeves instead. Properly dispose of any trash, food or other litter in covered trash cans to avoid attracting predators to the nests.

4. Choose Turtle-Friendly Activities. Lighting bonfires on the beach is also hazardous to sea turtles. In addition to the danger of a fire on the sand, the bright light can confuse hatchlings making their way to the ocean. Also remember it is illegal to disturb or harm sea turtles and their nests, eggs and hatchlings.

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Adopt a Sea Turtle Nest

You can adopt a Sea Turtle nest on Anna Maria Island .

We are now taking adoptions for the 2017 season .. Adoption plaques will be placed on the beach starting in June 2017 . Adoption packages will be mailed out starting in August ’17. Adoption certificates will be mailed out immediately upon receipt of payment so you can give the certificate as a gift anytime


It can be "In memory of " in celebration of " , a birthday, wedding graduation gift . You can adopt for your business or just adopt to support a endangered species .Show your support for Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch, adopt a nest today. For your tax deductible donation a handcrafted wooden plaque with your personalized message will be placed on a nest. When the nest hatch's you will receive the data from the nest along with the plaque

Click here to Adopt a Nest

How Can You Help?


NOTE: all volunteer positions for the 2017 season are filled and we have a large waiting list
Due to the nature of our work there is nothing that a short term visitor can do to help
All of our staff are trained and certified by the state to monitor nesting activity and collect the scientific data needed to mesure the nesting turtle populations

Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch & Shorebird Monitoring

For 30+ years Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch has coordinated conservation efforts for 12 miles of Manatee County shoreline.  In  three decades, we monitored 7339  turtle activities, protected 4454  nests, 301,694 turtle eggs, and watched 271,680  hatchlings depart to become a future generation of loggerheads that will return to the region as they reach maturity — in about 30 years.
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The program includes staff, interns and volunteers who have documented the status of shoreline habitat and trends in sea turtle nesting. These data show that nesting by loggerhead turtles has declined, then rebounded in recent years. Nest destruction by both natural and non-indigenous predators has also increased during the same time period.

AMITW & Shorebird Monitoring coordinates with county, state and federal efforts to conserve sea turtles — particularly loggerheads., Manatee and Sarasota County hosts the highest density of loggerhead nests in the Gulf of Mexico.

Whether humans respect other species enough to protect sea turtles and their essential habitats will depend on the understanding developed by marine conservation biologists.

In the end we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.”

(B. Dioum, 1968)